The University of Oklahoma (11-2) comes back from last year’s campaign achieving a Big 12 title and a National Semifinalist in the second College Football playoff. Like other teams in the country they are in the middle of spring football. Bob Stoops, the Oklahoma Sooners head coach, was the defensive coordinator under Steve Spurrier’s reign as head coach of the University of Florida between 1996-1998. Since 1999, Stoops has been at the helm of the Oklahoma Sooners for 18 years, leading them to a record of 179-46 and a national title in 2000. Stoops with a relatively young team last season, is looking forward to this season to improve on the success and hopefully win a national title.
Stoops expresses that during spring football, he specifically looks to build up the roster and improve the players skills. The Sooners only lost 13 players from last year’s squad. They return a total of 14 starters overall, 7 on offense and 7 on defense. This includes 7 players that are All-Big XII and Baker Mayfield an All-American quarterback. Though, they lose depth at the linebacker and offensive line positions and need to find replacements from the players who have declared for the NFL draft. In the linebacker position they lose two First Team All-Big XII linebackers Eric Striker and Dominique Alexander. There is only one returning starter from the linebacker position Second Team All-Big XII linebacker Jordan Evans. The Sooners have concern in depth on the offensive side of the ball as they lose two first team All-Big XII offensive lineman Ty Darlington and Nila Kasitati. The Sooners return three starting offensive lineman. The Oklahoma Sooners return a lot of talent this year, but need to find replacements and depth to replace these All-Big XII players. This is a key focus during spring football that is crucial in the success of the Oklahoma Sooner program next year.
Stoops was happy with last year’s success as his team was selected by the College Football Playoff selection committee to play in the playoff. Stoops believes that the process is better than it has been as it brings in more public attention to the sport of College Football. Stoops wishes that he could have made it to the second round of the playoffs from last year, but unfortunately did not beat Clemson.
Coming back with loaded talent on both sides of the ball, Oklahoma’s major concern with getting back into the college football playoff maybe their scheduling. “We don’t hide from anyone,” Stoops declares when asked about the upcoming schedule. The Sooners have a brutal non-conference schedule as they play the victors of two New Year Six Bowl Games. Oklahoma opens the season at Houston (victors of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl) and then week three hosts Ohio State (victors of the BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl) in Norman. In addition, the Sooners will play a challenging conference schedule including powerhouses such as TCU (11-2), Baylor (10-3), and Oklahoma State (10-3). Not to mention, the Red River Rivalry against Texas where anything can happen, such as last years unranked Texas Longhorns defeat of then #10 Oklahoma Sooners, 24-17.
Stoops looks forward to the upcoming season. Through spring ball, Stoops is solving the roster problem, finding guys who can hopefully, replace those of First Team Big XII caliber in the positions of offensive line and linebacker. Though, one problem spring ball cannot solve is Oklahoma’s difficult schedule, finding a way to maneuver around some of college football’s premier teams. All these factors against the Oklahoma Sooners are challenging, but they return All-American quarterback Baker Mayfield and a very talented, experienced, supporting cast of players on both sides of the ball. Oklahoma is poised for a successful season and a potential title run, with eyes on winning the program’s eighth national title.